The hazardous rain zone of a nuclear detonation can easily extend 10 to 20 miles (15 to 30 kilometers) from the site, depending on the explosive performance and weather conditions. The radioactive materials released by the explosion can reach up to 50 miles into the atmosphere. Large particles fall close to the explosion site, while lighter particles and gases move to the upper atmosphere. These particles that are dragged into the atmosphere and fall back to Earth are called nuclear fallout.
Nuclear fallout can circulate around the world for years until it gradually falls to Earth or is brought back to the surface by precipitation. The trajectory of nuclear fallout depends on wind patterns and weather. The regulations against the potential consequences of nuclear reactors focused on the power plant's capacity for the maximum credible accident (MCA). As the nuclear energy sector continues to grow, international rhetoric around nuclear war intensifies and the ever-present threat of radioactive materials falling into the hands of dangerous people persists, many scientists are working hard to find the best way to protect human organs from the harmful effects of high-energy radiation.
The dangers of nuclear fallout are not limited to an increased risk of cancer and radiation sickness, but also include the presence of radionuclides in human organs from food. Because of this, steps must be taken to ensure that the risk of nuclear rain in nuclear reactors is controlled. The isotopic signature of a bomb's rain is very different from that of a serious accident in a power reactor (such as the one in Chernobyl or Fukushima). However, groundwater supplies, such as aquifers, would initially remain uncontaminated in the event of a nuclear fallout.
Since large doses of radiation of approximately 20 roentgen or more are needed to produce developmental defects, these effects would likely be limited to areas of heavy local rainfall in nuclear warring nations and would not become a global problem. The 1963 Test Ban Treaty prohibits the testing of nuclear weapons “or any other nuclear explosion in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water. A nuclear weapon detonated in the air, called an air blast, produces less rain than a comparable explosion near the ground. The ACS then had to choose between active and static systems to protect the public from nuclear rain.
The CDC website provides information on the radioactive consequences of nuclear weapons tests conducted in the atmosphere around the world (global weapons tests) during the 1940s and 1950s. Based on these estimates, the consequences of more than 500 megatons of nuclear tests until 1970 will produce between 2 and 25 cases of genetic diseases per million live births in the next generation. When a nuclear detonation occurs, people, plants and animals can be exposed to rain in a variety of ways. Using updated models of Cold War nuclear explosions, the Wellerstein simulator can roughly predict the number of casualties and injuries from a nuclear bomb in a given location, large or small.